What Does the 2nd Amendment Really Mean?

Dear Editor:

The 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The phrases within this single sentence are connected, and together they form a single concept or meaning. The words “a well regulated militia” are directly connected to the words about the right to keep and bear arms not being infringed. They are not two separate concepts or ideas.

At the time of the writing of this Amendment, the United States had no standing army to defend against any foreign aggression, or even attacks by Native Americans. In the place of a standing army were the State Militias, often referred to as the Minutemen, since they would be ready to defend their community on a minute’s notice. In order to be ready to respond quickly, these militia men needed to have readily available weapons. Thus the right to keep and bear arms was a necessary part of national security at the time.

Fast forward 235 years. We now have a huge standing active and reserve military to defend our nation against foreign aggression, and multiple layers of law enforcement departments at all levels of government to protect the population and enforce the laws. Quite a different situation from when the framers wrote the 2nd Amendment. However, even as the 2nd Amendment currently reads, and keeping in mind the times when it was written, there are reasonable and constitutionally based laws that can be passed to help curb the epidemic of gun violence in America.

Why can’t we pass a law requiring anyone purchasing a gun to certify and identify that they are members of a legal, well regulated militia? If they are not part of any such well regulated militia, then, according to the 2nd Amendment, their right to keep and bear arms can be infringed.

The word infringed does not mean to prohibit, but to place some limits on the right to keep and bear arms. This would not mean individuals not part of a well regulated militia could not purchase arms, but it would allow constitutional limits on things like the type of gun a person could purchase and what size magazine it could hold. Potential requirements could include licencing, training, a background check, and a short waiting period before the purchase was finalized. Only those who can certify and identify legal membership in a legal well regulated militia would be free from any infringement on their right to keep and bear arms.

This was the intent of the 2nd Amendment’s when it was written. In the day of the framers, to “bear arms” meant to be part of a well regulated militia.

This approach is supported by a decision of the Tennessee Supreme Court in 1840. The court wrote, “A man in pursuit of deer, elk and buffaloes might carry his rifle every day for forty years, and yet it would never be said of him that he had borne arms; much less could it be said that a private citizen bears arms because he has a dirk or pistol concealed under his clothes, or a spear in a cane.” As such, the 2nd Amendment did not apply to these “private citizens” and their right to keep and bear arms could be legally infringed upon, since they were not part of a well regulated militia.

If you believe in Constitutional originality, and what the intent of the framers was, in a time without any standing army, the right to keep and bear arms without any infringement belonged only to those who were part of a well regulated militia. In those days, that was necessary to protect, preserve and defend a weak young nation in its infancy.

Gun safety regulation is not a zero sum game. It is not all or nothing. People can still enjoy guns for sport, collection and even self defense. But that does not mean that there should not be any limits on gun ownership, as a part of the safety and security of our communities. All rights come with responsibility and limits.

Rich DiPentima, LTC, USAF, Ret.

Portsmouth, N.H.


It defies all logic that this argument has failed to gain any traction…oh, wait.

The Editor


The Don of Meredith Pontificates Again

To the Editor:

I’m tired of millions of law-abiding citizens with no relationship to school shooters or responsibility for protecting schools being blamed rather than the shooters themselves and those people with the authority, ability, and responsibility to stop these criminals.

Almost all school shooters have long records of mental illness, violence, and threats that are known to parents, public officials, school officials, mental health professionals, and law enforcement. Why don’t they do their jobs to protect society?

If our thousands of laws don’t provide the authority to keep known dangerous people from legally getting guns, why haven’t politicians provided it?

It seems politicians won’t do anything to protect children unless the solution advances their political objective of disarming law-abiding Americans.

After decades of horrible examples, every parent, teacher, health professional, and public official should recognize their responsibly and authority to help troubled children and protect others from them.

Politicians’ workplaces are protected, why not our schools? Why haven’t the lessons from previous school shootings been implemented everywhere? Don’t officials care? Why isn’t the excess Covid money spent on protecting schools?

As President Obama indicated, fatherlessness causes many of our children’s problems. Our laws must stop encouraging fatherless families and encourage fathers to be positive role models for their children.

Taking guns from millions of law-abiding citizens won’t stop school shootings or other crimes, especially when violent criminals aren’t prosecuted, given light sentences, or released early to resume preying on innocent people.

The solution to school shootings is to deal seriously with troubled and/or violent people, keep fathers with their children, and protect our schools.

Don Ewing

Meredith, N.H.


You write as if this country had a functioning system for treating mental illness. Are you crazy?

Someone in Congress could propose one, of course—but why bother? Mitch McConnell would never let it come up for a vote—any more than he would a bill that provided, as you put it, “the authority to keep known dangerous people from legally getting guns.”

The Editor


Scanlan Gaslights New Hampshire Voters

To the Editor:

Statistically there is no voter fraud in New Hampshire or in America.

Secretary of State Scanlan’s bogus special committee on voter confidence is gaslighting Granite Staters. The Secretary of State’s Special Committee on Voter Confidence is giving a platform and legitimacy to those that say voter fraud exists. I have 100 percent confidence in the integrity of our voting system.

I attended the Committee’s meeting in Derry the other week. I would have testified, however so many elected Election officials showed up to testify against the false narrative that our elections can’t be trusted, that I had to leave. Numerous elected officials testified that there are no issues with the current voting system and definitely no fraud. They all stated voter apathy was the largest issue and most suggested the need for education on the current system.

If Secretary Scanlon had the interest of the people of New Hampshire at heart, or any conscience about performing his duties, he’d have been loudly proclaiming that our current system was safe, functioning, that there was no fraud, and that we should all have confidence in the current system. Instead, Scanlon is creating confusion and misinforming Granite Staters, implying we need a Committee to look into something that doesn’t really exist. I can only assume the intent of this deception is to pass restrictive partisan laws that will disenfranchise poor and working people in New Hampshire and make it harder for them to vote.

David Holt

Somersworth, N.H.


You paint a dismal picture. Sadly, it seems to be 100 percent accurate.

The Editor


An Imperious Reader Deigns to Lecture Us

To the Editor:

Greetings. After you do the reading I will suggest I suspect you may change your tune regarding the second of the “twin pandemics” and the “array of beliefs” you characterize as “toxic.” [Mr. Robinson refers to our Rant entitled, “Culture War Memorial Day,” in our paper of June 17th. – The Ed.]

I direct you to the following pages: phmpt.org; which reveals the true nature of the FDA/CDC/HHS cabal (Does the list of signatories on this site look “fringe” to you?). The fact that FDA was duplicitous is revealing isn’t it?, and to goodjobsfirst.org in which you will find their “violation tracker,” where you can click on the parent companies of any of our gracious providers of “vaccines” and you will find a splendid selection of nasty dirt. J&J, Moderna, Pfizer; they’re all there in all their criminal glory. You entrust these crews with your life?

30% of “covid” deaths due to “unvaccinated” status. What? In response to this uncited statement of yours, I must state a well worn maxim from the realm of science: “correlation does not prove causation.” I’ll leave it at that.

I think long term proven safe & effective (real vaccines which take an average 7 years not 108 days to approve) vaccines are one of the great advances in human history. Over my life course I’ve had them all from polio to hepatitis. This dope from criminal organizations just doesn’t qualify.

After finally doing some homework; who’s looking foolish, reckless and ignorant now? I don’t question my choice. Considering the general population is clearly not threatened by my status, mine has been nor will it be [sic] harmful or injurious to others.

I’d be glad to discuss the wide array of institutional behavior particularly that of FDA & CDC and their complicity in the panic program since January of 2020 to the top down approach to protocols starting with the HHS secretaries on down to “His Excellency” Sununu. I say to Sununu: define an emergency and prove it. There’s no rush little Chrissy, This isn’t a fire in a theater bathroom.

BTW I thought some ancestors had won a war over “governing by decree” 240 years ago. Have you written about the trampling of liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights?, freedoms of association, assembly, movement? If so, please refer me to it.

Ciao from an occasional, frequently believing reader,

John Robinson

Portsmouth, N.H.


Thank you for your provocative letter.

Being of the old school, among those who believe that a gentlemen never gives offense unintentionally, we must ask: When you presumed that we would “do the reading” you prescribed, and subsequently “change our tune,” did you intend to give offense, or was that effect merely accidental?

You did inspire us to Google the names of a few of the 600 or so signatories at phmpt.org. We could find no evidence of any Dugler Howitzer, MD. We also have doubts about the existence of a Dr. Hu Mungous, PhD. Somewhat to our surprise, Dr. Festus Krebs III does seem to be real—and a proponent of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, to boot.

Stella Immanuel, MD, is also real, and also a proponent of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid. She also claims that Joe Biden, Bill Gates, and Nancy Pelosi are all dead, and that we are being deceived by their evil clones.

As for goodjobsfirst.org, frankly we’re shocked that you seem to be shocked to learn that a list of corporations which have misbehaved should include the names of pharmaceutical companies involved in the vaccine business. If you want to astonish us, show us a pharmaceutical company that is innocent of wrongdoing. Where else can we turn, though, for a Covid vaccine?

Finally, you ask if we have written about “the trampling of liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights?, freedoms of association, assembly, movement?” Granted, we usually write about these things in the context of systemic felonious Republican criminality. We have limited space and resources, though. You can hardly expect us to scurry around tallying up Democratic parking tickets.

The Editor


This Is A Mass Disabling Event

To the Editor:

The pandemic is far from over, and in fact we are in what is arguably the worst point of the pandemic yet. We are in the midst of a silent surge that is not being reported or addressed due to cuts to funding for tests, treatments, research, and surveillance. The U.S. reported 219,267 confirmed cases yesterday. Conservative estimates of the true number suggests that it was actually over 1,000,000.

The repeated mass infection of the population will undoubtedly lead to more preventable deaths and disability. The Biden administration has warned that the U.S. could see another 100 million infections by the end of the year. The CDC has also said that one in five adult Covid survivors have developed Long Covid, a term describing the postviral complications of Covid. It includes conditions such as lymphopenia, dysautonomia, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, and cortical gray matter loss.

This is a mass disabling event and constitutes a serious threat to the long-term health and economic wellbeing of the country.

The unmitigated spread of a biosafety level 3 virus known to cause blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, cognitive impairment, immunodeficiency, and autoimmunity should not be tolerated. The idea that the virus will become milder over time is a misunderstanding of pathogen evolution and ignores the characteristics of Omicron and its subvariants. Furthermore, vaccination and infection have not produced durable immunity in the population. That is why I am urging Granite Staters to mandate universal masking (N95/equivalent or better), use HEPA filters and Corsi-Rosenthal boxes in shared spaces, and stay home if symptomatic. Until we have sterilizing vaccines, nonpharmaceutical interventions can still reduce transmission.

It is often said that Covid precautions are a personal choice, but the pandemic has proven that they are a social one. We must protect each other to protect ourselves.

Creighton Ward

Exeter, N.H.


Thank you for this concise presentation of a dire reality which far too many people seem bent on trying to wish away. If there’s one thing this country does not need, it’s the loss of more cortical gray matter.

The Editor


GOP Values Chickens Over Children

Dear Sir:

If you really want to understand just how out of touch, insensitive and desperate Republicans have become regarding gun safety legislation discussions, just listen to some of their comments defending the continued sales of guns like the AR-15 to the general public. First, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) defended not banning the AR-15 based on the events of 9/11 stating, “airplanes were used that day, as a weapon to kill thousands of people and to inflict terror on our country. There wasn’t a discussion about banning airplanes.” Or there was this from Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.): the continued sale of the AR-15 is essential because, “vermin like prairie dogs and raccoon are the main targets for people owning AR-15 style semi automatic rifles.” Ken Buck (R-Colo.) went on to say that, AR-15s were needed to stop raccoons “before they get to our chickens.”

In light of the ongoing slaughter of children and teachers, like those from Newtown, Connecticut or Uvalde, Texas, and the random slaughter of people visiting grocery stores, churches, synagogues, movie theaters, night clubs, colleges &c., it is impossible for me to determine which of the above comments from Republican lawmakers defending the continued sale of AR-15 style weapons is the most disgusting, insensensitve, ridiculous and outright pathetic. How do you even try to compare killing prairie dogs and raccoons with an AR-15 in the same discussion involving the slaughter of babies in school? How distorted can one man’s mind be to even think of such lunacy? Imagine a parent of a child killed in one of those school massacres hearing or reading such comments? Have these people no compassion, no human feelings and no sense of decency?

If the arguments defending the continued sale of the AR-15 and weapons like them as presented by Scalise, Buck and Thune are the grounds for its continued sale to the public, then there is no doubt that they should be banned again, as they were in 1994. Their arguments are not even worthy of consideration. The 2nd Amendment was not put in place to protect people and chickens from prairie dogs and raccoons. And, in case Rep. Scalise missed some little details about planes, you need specific training and a licence to fly a plane that is registered and inspected. We also did not ban fertilizer after the Oklahoma City bombing.

The ongoing debate regarding gun safety legislation in Congress has become a tragic comedy. Republicans completely refuse to consider any meaningful legislation that could actually have some impact on reducing the violence. In the end, some pathetic do-nothing legislation will pass so as to give members of Congress another temporary time-out with the voters, while the carnage continues. And then, after the next slaughters, we will keep repeating the same exercise in futility ad nauseam. All this while the world watches and shake its head in disbelief.

Rich DiPentima, LTC, USAF, Ret.

Portsmouth, N.H.


What other evidence do you have that Republicans value chickens over children…besides all their other policies, of course?

The Editor


Let’s Get Sensible

To the Editor:

It’s time to enact sensible firearms regulation in New Hampshire. Call it “gun control” if you want; I think of it as “gun violence reduction.”

Let’s steer away from rhetoric like “Democrats want to take away your guns” or “Republicans care more about the Second Amendment than second graders.” And let’s get something done to protect the lives of Granite Staters in schools, churches, shopping malls and other public venues. Let’s enact practical legislation that prevents the next gun massacre from being here in our state.

Other states have legislation that protects the rights of gun owners while reducing gun violence. In Hawaii, rifles and handguns must be registered. Background checks are required. Individuals with drug or violence convictions and those with restraining orders against them are prohibited from buying or owning guns. Gun deaths per capita there are 25 percent below the national average.

But here in New Hampshire?

Is a permit required to purchase a rifle or handgun? No. Is registration required? No. Is the sale of assault rifles or semiautomatic handguns prohibited? No. Is there a limit on magazine cartridge capacity? No. Are gun owners required to have a license? No. Is gun safety education required of new gun owners? No. Are background checks required? No. Is there a “red flag” law that prevents convicted felons from purchasing firearms? No. Are handguns prohibited from school grounds? No.

What we do have is a law that says state legislation pre-empts local legislation. We cannot, on a local level, enact regulations to protect our children and ourselves. It’s up to our state officials. It’s time for them to do something to prevent gun violence in our beloved state. It’s well past time to go beyond “thoughts and prayers” and take action. Now! Before we too make national headlines. Please!

David Wessel

New Durham, N.H.


If logic and democracy ruled in this country—or state—this problem would have been solved long ago.

It’s a matter of numbers and power. Right now we have minority rule. The big question is how to flip that equation on its head.

This next letter provides one answer.

The Editor


Democracy From the Ground Up

To the Editor:

Well, this is a fine mess that We the People have gotten ourselves into! Our democracy is divided and dysfunctional, Mother Nature is in a global warming, chemical contaminated decline, we can’t make heads or tails out of this pandemic with vaccines that may or may not work, wars for oil and Wall Street greed ongoing, inflation for Wall Street greed too, and a corporate owned mass media that will not tell us the truth.

So what do we do? The N.H. Community Rights Network is working to get people organized on the local level so we can get back in control of our government! True democracy does not trickle down on us from Washington D.C., or even from Concord N.H.; democracy originates from the people and grows from our towns up, because that’s where We the People live and can be empowered to act.

What we are missing is the silent majority, most of whom cannot name their elected representatives and have no idea what those elected are doing. Many people have escaped to entertainment, sports, and leisure time and have abandoned their responsibility to be involved, and that’s the biggest problem our Nation faces!

If you want to be part of the solution, go to www.nhcommunityrights.org and get a group of active citizens going in your town that can protect your ecosystem and unite people to work together! There is no time to waste and every person counts!

Peter A. White, Treasurer, N.H. Community Rights Network

Nottingham, N.H.


We’re always happy to hear from an organization which represents not just the opposite, but the antidote to top-down astroturf corporate apologists like Americans for Prosperity.

The Editor


Childrens’ Game Ineptly Hijacked

To the Editor:

If you’re over 50 you may remember a childhood game called “Simon Says.” Simon was an imaginary King who couldn’t make up his mind about anything. He would say one thing and then say the exact opposite or something totally contrary to what he just said.

Here we are 50 years later and we’re still playing “Simon Says” in the political theater of the absurd. Here are some examples.

Simon says, “The World is getting colder.” Simon says, “No! The World is getting warmer.”

Simon says, “People cause global warming.” Simon says, “No! Cows cause global warming.”

Simon says, “Global warming causes forest fires.” Simon says, “Only cows can prevent forest fires.”

Simon says, “You must believe in science.” Simon says, “Now fire all the scientists that disagree with me.”

Simon says, “Separation of Church and State.” Simon says, “Now do as I say because God talks to me.”

Simon says, “God wants us to be compassionate and open our borders to oppressed people.” Simon says, “Now ship all the Cubans back because they know communism doesn’t work.”

Simon says, “Fly an airplane into a building, then go to heaven and get 70 virgins.” Simon says, “Tooooo bad ! Your 70 virgins come with padlocked cast-iron chastity belts.”

Simon says, “Only a fool could think the election was stolen.” Simon says, “Now spend 2 years trying to prove the election was stolen from Hillary Clinton.”

Simon says, “Only a fool could think 120,000 DEAD people voted in Wisconsin.” Simon says, “I DO, I DO BELIEVE IN SPOOKS!”

Simon says. “Antifa is just an idea.” Simon says, “So when they burned down neighborhoods in Seattle, it was all in your imagination.”

Simon says, “Book banning is the work of right-wing kooks.” Simon says, “Now ban the Dr. Seuss books because the Little Elfkins are white supremacists !!!”

Simon says, “Restrictive gun laws help fight terrorism.” Simon says, “Now leave behind 80 billion dollars worth of guns, tanks,and bazookas for the terrorists.”

Simon says, “The First Amendment is necessary for a free society.” “WAIT A MINUTE! Get rid of the First Amendment before someone exposes my corruption!”

Woops! I forgot to say “Simon says”!

Francis Cormier

Portsmouth N.H.


We remember the game “Simon Says.” It appears that you do not.

None of this fatuous gibberish bears any resemblance to the game as we once played it—back in the day when ordinary working people were able to make a living in this country.

Granted, Tail-Gunner Joe McCarthy was riding a wave of anti-Communist hysteria, and the Defense Department was engaged in an arms race that threatened to wipe out humanity in defense of capitalism, if corporate pollution didn’t kill us first…. Yeah, now that we think of it, this country has been kind of nuts going back as far as we can remember.

To go back to your letter, you appear to have discarded the original game entirely, while conjuring up an imaginary King as an excuse to hang onto the name. And why? Apparently just to create a bogus context for some equally bogus right wing talking points.

It’s as if you’d been borrowing talking points from Major Mike [see below].

The Editor


Major Mike Strikes Again!

To the Editor:

[Disclaimer: We cannot vouch for the veracity of any of this. In fact, we suspect it’s safest to assume that nothing herein is accurate or true. We publish it to provide documentary evidence of what’s going on in the mind of a person who purports to be a retired field-grade officer of the United States Marine Corps. — The Ed.]

Dear Congressional Leaders from New Hampshire,

Do you know how many Americans have been tried and convicted of INSURRECTION for the January 6, 2021 protest?

I do, ZERO. Why is that?

That’s because there was no “insurrection.” That narrative was made up by political hacks, and force fed to us by a complicit, dishonest and corrupt media. This “story” was also helped along by the department of injustice and their federal bureau of insurrectionists, who helped “stage” the scene.

Do you know how many people were murdered that day?

I do, ONE. Why are your peers lying about that?

One unarmed female Veteran was executed by an incompetent capitol police officer that day. Nobody was killed by the crowd, that’s a flat out lie, and everyone knows it.

In case you didn’t know, the victim was Ashli Babbitt. You and your peers don’t seem to care much about her murder, why is that?

Do you know how many National Guardsmen defended the capitol that day?

I do, ZERO. Why is that?

That’s because Nancy Pelosi refused them. She did however allow the capitol police, abetted by government agitators, to open the capitol doors and let the protestors in.

Do you know why only selective video footage from that day has been released?

I do, because they’re hiding the truth. Transparency and light are a disinfectant for scum, and must be avoided by them at all cost.

The corrupt committee “investigating January 6th” will not ask any of these questions during their sham presentation, why is that?

Maybe because the answers would indict them. So instead of seeking the truth, they’ve chosen to “take the 5th.”

Maybe this committee should be looking for traitors, instead of insurrectionists, I think they’d have more convictions that way.

Michael Petruzziello

Major, USMC (Ret)

Wolfeboro, N.H.

Major Mike:

We don’t know what’s scarier: the thought of you commanding Marines, or serving in some staff position.

The Editor


“Today, you people are no longer pukes. Today, you are Marines. You’re part of a brotherhood. From now, until the day you die, wherever you go, every Marine is your brother. And always remember this: Marines die, that’s what we’re here for. But the Marine Corps lives forever, and that means you live forever.”

– Gunnery Sergeant Hartman,

“Full Metal Jacket” (1987), by Stanley Kubrick, Michael Herr, and Gustav Hasford, Warner Bros.


“They [the U.S. Marines] have a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalin’s.”

– President Harry S. Truman, letter to Rep. Gordon L. McDonough [R–Calif.], August 29, 1950

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